Monday, September 21, 2009

TouchTunes didn't touch this Cedar Rapids BWW visitor

I had assumed that every single Buffalo Wild Wings in the entire universe - well, at least in the U.S. and Canada - offered NTN Buzztime. It initially appeared that this was not the case at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to LaDawn Edwards:

My husband and I wanted to do a little cell phone comparison shopping and get some dinner before catching a movie on a recent Tuesday, so we headed to BWW at 1100 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE in Cedar Rapids shortly after 5 p.m. We hadn’t eaten there in several months, so we were interested to note that they’d replaced the portable game system that we’d always enjoyed doing trivia quizzes on while we waited for our food.

We grabbed a TouchTunes unit to figure out what it offered and realized it wasn’t working. The problem? “No signal from base” the screen reported. Our waiter commented that the units stacked on the base had the same message, so it was malfunctioning somehow. Apparently, it’s supposed to let you use your credit card to pay for the overhead music jukebox-style or the more popular games, although many of them are free. The gadget failed to entertain us, but on the other hand didn’t cost anything since it wasn’t working. Oh well.

The sadder part? According to Buzztime's web site, the Blairs Ferry BWW continues to be an active NTN Buzztime site. So Edwards apparently got the wrong information about the availability of NTN Buzztime trivia.

In the meantime, I did find information about TouchTunes' PlayPorTT product. Here's some details:

Hip, Cool And Totally Portable

* Create a buzz with the PlayPorTT’s revolutionary sleek, portable design
* Play individually, multi-player, in groups, or even head-to-head
* The best classic and new games keep patrons entertained and coming back for more

Easy To Manage

* Proven durability and bar-friendly design
* Use in its recharging dock or go portable
* Operator configurable. Release from dock with credit card, cash or without any payment, as you prefer
* Built in multi-level security features
* Regular, automatic online game updates keep games fresh and engaging
* Ability to edit content for each location

A New Way To Grow Your Business

* Multiple, portable screens from one base means more patrons playing more music and games from more places
* Automatic link to a TouchTunes® jukebox drives more music plays
* Fun, portable, and engaging – creates excitement at your locations
* Help your customers retain and attract patrons in their locations

Raising The Bar In Out-Of-Home Entertainment
Captivating patrons. Redefining entertainment. Growing your business. We’re TouchTunes, the largest out-of-home interactive entertainment network, providing music, games and new revenue opportunities to over 35,000 bars, restaurants and retail locations in North America.

So, while it doesn't appear that you can compete against a multi-nation network of players, the system does offer some potential revenue opportunities for bar and restaurant owners. Imaging if you needed a credit card to get an NTN Buzztime Playmaker.

And TouchTunes is in a larger number of locations than NTN Buzztime - 35,000 locations is nothing to sneeze at. So what's the nearest location in my area? I don't know - I couldn't find a "SiteFinder" equivalent on TouchTunes.

And compare @playportt's Twitter presence with @buzztimegirl's. At least in the social media area, NTN Buzztime has the greater presence.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bush gets buzzed in a combine - or, this blogger writes an entirely misleading NTN Buzztime post title

The truth of the matter is that NTN Buzztime has made a change in the composition of its Board of Directors.

On September 4, 2009 our Board of Directors (the "Board"), upon recommendation of the Nomination, Corporate Governance and Compensation Committee of the Board, elected Michael J. Bush to the Board, effective as of September 8, 2009. The Board determined that Mr. Bush is independent under applicable regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and rules of the NYSE Amex. The Board also appointed Mr. Bush to the Nomination, Corporate Governance and Compensation Committee and the Audit Committee.

Perhaps more significant is a streamlining effort that the Board of Directors has made. Any corporate Board of Directors has a number of committees that attend to certain Board matters. The NTN Buzztime Board of Directors has combined some of its committees:

The Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee was combined with the Compensation Committee to form the Nomination, Corporate Governance and Compensation Committee (the "Combined Committee");

I found a Western Australia company (Anvil Mining) that also has a combined committee.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another perspective on NTN Buzztime's social capabilities

In a symbolic way, I drink a lot of Kool Aid. I hang out online with a bunch of FriendFeed types who relish the conversation and community of "friends," and I love to play NTN Buzztime games in which I compete against my "friends" from all over the United States and Canada. In my view, these virtual tools enhance the experience that I have with others.

But not everyone sees it that way. I was reading my feeds and ran across a post in the blog "Here is a Thing." Here's part of the thing:

I play trivia every Thursday night at Max’s, which is the best bar in Baltimore (check out the massive tap list at It’s a live trivia game with moderators and teams and stuff, not one of those cheap computer things they have at places like Buffalo Wild Wings.

Now I can think of a number of adjectives to apply to the NTN Buzztime trivia experience, but I never would have thought of the adjective "cheap." (In fact, some establishments that have dropped NTN Buzztime service have claimed that it is too expensive.)

Why does the writer consider NTN Buzztime "cheap"? Because of the lack of human interaction? Because of drawbacks in the graphical interface?

Now I'm curious.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fighting for Playmakers in Dublin's future?

Urbanspoon reviewed the Buffalo Wild Wings in Dublin, California. The page included commentary from BWW themselves, part of which read as follows:

It's got everything sports fans - and wing fans - dream of. Wall-to-wall big screens featuring all the games, a fantastic beer selection, award-winning chicken wings along with 14 delicious signature sauces, like Honey BBQ, Spicy Garlic and Blazin'. There's even Buzztime Trivia for all you trivia buffs out there.

Reviewer ScottySauce started his review as follows:

very few bw3 locations on the west coast and the first bay area location is in dublin? WEIRD!

this new dublin location just brought me back to the days i had nightmares working as a server.

However, Sauce's concern was about the perceived popularity of the place:

this place is so small and packed and with just the right big crowd the servers and customers are gonna be screwed. with so much entertainment and interactive entertainment they really should expand fast to avoid HELL. this place is like a hooters without the hot girls and an espn zone without the espn and the zone.

Sauce eventually got to some convoluted economic reasoning:

i really don't feel we all need a place like this right now in our economic situation. the price of food and drink is pretty over the top for your typical run of the mill average bar food.

So in essence Sauce is worried that people will SPEND MONEY at the BWW in Dublin. And obviously we can't allow that to happen.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

NTN Buzztime at Tequila Hoppers is educational

It's probably a good idea for someone who blogs on a topic to actually engage in the topic in question. And I hadn't played NTN Buzztime trivia in months. I tried to on August 12, but my local bar (Tequila Hoppers, Upland, California) was closed due to an emergency.

Well, I had an opportunity to play tonight, and Tequila Hoppers was open. I stayed for an hour and got three games in - one 1/2 hour 15-question Countdown game, and two 1/4 hour 10-question Buzztime trivia games. By far I did best on the Countdown game, scoring 11,583 points (out of 15,000) and ranking #47 on the network. My performance on the Buzztime games was less than stellar, however - I didn't even make the 6,000 point (out of 10,000) minimum in the first game.

It looks like NTN Buzztime has made some significant improvements in their presentation since I last played. For example, when I got three perfect 1,000 scores in a row in my Countdown game, the screen announced this to the local crowd. (Not that they noticed, for reasons that will become apparent.) A similar announcement was made when I extended my streak to five perfect 1,000 scores. I've never seen anything like that before.

But if you think that playing NTN Buzztime at a bar is frivolous fun, I have to assure you that it's educational. For example, I learned that the cooking product PAM was not named after a person named Pam, but actually stands for "Product of Arthur Meyerhoff," the inventor of PAM. (See this post in my Empoprise-BI business blog for more details.)

And I also learned that three bikini-clad waitresses can fit on a mechanical bull, but that was more of a function of Tequila Hoppers than NTN Buzztime.

The picture above was NOT taken at Tequila Hoppers this evening. After all, there was only one woman on this bull. But you get the idea.

I'll share a little bit more about Tequila Hoppers in a post on my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fantasy in a bar - no, it's an NTN Buzztime Sports Network

Just saw this press release. NTN Buzztime, in an effort to drive people into the bars and restaurants that include their programming, has created a Sports Network with a "draft every week" fantasy football game. Basically, participants come into the restaurant (and buy food and drink) twice a week - once on Wednesday night to draft, and once on Sunday to play.

And the network doesn't have any additional costs for bars and restaurants. Let's see how this works.

NTN Buzztime, Inc. Launches New Sports Network in Time for Football Season
Tue Sep 1, 2009 12:00pm EDT

Weekly fantasy football league leads programming

CARLSBAD, Calif., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE
Amex: NTN) is reinventing the fantasy football world with the launch of its
new Sports Network. The new network features four popular interactive games
geared towards driving a younger demographic into Buzztime's more than 4,000
bar and restaurant locations. Starting September 9, sports fans will have a
new, social way to enjoy the 2009 football season and many of their favorite
sporting events.


Fantasy Football leads the programming on Buzztime's Sports Network. This game
offers a one-of-a-kind fantasy football league and is aimed at avid game
watchers and the more casual sports fan. Fantasy Football is based on
professional football and will feature a weekly draft night. By allowing
players to select a new team each week, Buzztime hopes to draw a more
inclusive set of participants, who will ultimately visit their favorite
Buzztime venue twice a week - once to make their selections and then again to
watch the game.

The network launch also includes the start of a new game, Pick 'Em, which lets
users predict the outcome of all of the upcoming week's football match-ups.
Buzztime will rank Pick 'Em players locally and nationally and highlight those
that are the best game predictors.

Both Fantasy Football and Pick 'Em will be a part of Buzztime's Wednesday
Night Football Promotion, which aims to drive mid-week business at its
restaurant and bar locations. During September and October, those who try out
the new games will be entered to win one of 500 weekly prizes.

Buzztime's Sports Network also includes the continuation of two Buzztime
favorites: QB1, a time-honored game on which Buzztime built its legacy, and
Sports Trivia, a popular general sports trivia game.

-- The popular QB1 game will move from the general trivia network to the
new Sports Network. Played on nationally televised NFL game-days, this
one tests players' skills on predicting the quarterback's
every move. Buzztime players will have until the snap of the ball to
enter their best guess and will be ranked nationally based on the
of correct predictions.

-- Sports Trivia is moving from Buzztime's Trivia Network so that
players can enjoy trivia during draft night and while watching the
games. Just for the pigskin season, Buzztime will infuse this
favorite with football-specific trivia.

The new Sports Network will be offered to Buzztime's over 4,000 bar and
restaurants at no additional charge in the ongoing effort to help boost its
partners' business. By reaching a younger market and driving traffic on
traditionally slow days, Buzztime hopes to help its partners gain new regulars
and keep patrons in their venues for longer periods of time.

About NTN Buzztime, Inc

NTN Buzztime, Inc., a leader in interactive entertainment for 25 years, is
based in Carlsbad, Calif. Buzztime is distributed in-home and out-of-home
across broadband platforms including online, mobile, satellite TV and in more
than 4,000 restaurants, sports bars and pubs throughout North America. For
more information, please visit

Buzztime is a proud member of the OVAB |Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau.

Buzztime is a registered trademark of Buzztime Entertainment, Inc. and
Playmaker is a registered trademark of NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Forward-looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements which reflect management's
current views of future events and operations including but not limited to
expectations regarding our products, product innovations, and product
popularity, subscriber and participant preferences, demographics, frequency
and duration of visits, player participation and engagement and resulting
business impact or results of marketing strategies. These statements are based
on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and
uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from
historical results or those expressed or implied by such forward-looking
statements. For example, there can be no assurance that our products or
product innovations will be widely accepted or drive the expected level of
participation or business, or appeal to any particular demographic. Other
risks and uncertainties include risks associated with our recent management
transition, our significant losses, our ability to grow our out-of-home
Buzztime iTV network and implement our other business strategies, the risk of
changing economic conditions, failure of product demand or market acceptance
of both existing and new products and services and the impact of competitive
products and pricing. Please see NTN Buzztime, Inc.'s recent filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission for information about these and other risks
that may affect the Company. All forward-looking statements included in this
release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. These
statements speak only as of the date hereof, and NTN Buzztime, Inc. does not
undertake to publicly update or revise any of its forward-looking statements,
even if experience or future changes show that the indicated results or events
will not be realized.

Katy Harrison, Bailey Gardiner
619-295-8232 x103

SOURCE NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Katy Harrison of Bailey Gardiner, +1-619-295-8232, ext. 103,, for NTN Buzztime, Inc.